If you are going away for the holidays this year, it is essential to carry a holiday get home bag incase you get stranded, or SHTF. Check out our tips below and learn how to build your own holiday get home bag.
Essential Items – Holiday Get Home Bag
- Pack one bag per person.
- Pack the basics: food and water, warm clothing, wet weather gear.
- Have a light source such as a good LED flashlight, or headlamp.
- Have a method of starting a fire.
- Bring along hardcopies of maps, and a compass.
- Paracord is a must.
- Have a good knife, or multitool
- Keep a good first aid kit in your pack
As we move closer to summer, and the holiday season, we find ourselves traveling further away from home. Whether you’re flying to meet up with friends for the weekend, or heading on a family holiday, travel is almost always involved.
The more we travel, the danger of a disaster or emergency occurring while you are away from home becomes all too real. Sure, you maybe have a home full of preps and survival gear, but that’s not much use when you are hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away. What you need is a way to get home to deal with the situation at hand.
This means you need a holiday get home bag. We have looked at EDC kits before, though, what you carry in your EDC may not cut it when you are miles away from home, possibly in a foreign country. Lets take a look at how to build a holiday get home bag.
Before You Start
1. Know how many people you are packing for
When building your get home bag, you need to know how many people you have to look after. If you are one your own, your get home bag will look very different. than if you have people you are responsible for.
2. Separate get home bag per person
The best way to build a get home bag for multiple people, is to have one per person. This helps spread out the liability incase a bag is lost or damaged. Have a backup of the more important items, such as passports, insurance documents and so on, and have another person carry them in their get home bag.
3. Simple is better
Remember, the aim here is to build a bag that will get you home to your real preps, this is not supposed to be a fool proof survival bag that will keep you going for weeks in the wild. You only need to pack things that will aid you in your return trip home.
Get Home Bag Contents
Due to the fact that we are just using this bag to get home, it will have much less that your traditional bug out bag. Saying that though, the contents of both bags can be slightly similar.
You should aim to carry 1 litre of water for every person in your group. This should be enough to keep you going for a day, then you may need to refill at a stream. If everyone has their own bag, this will make spreading the weight easier.
If possible, you should try and carry your water in a canteen with a cup built in, this will allow you to collect water from a stream, filter it through a pair of socks, and boil it to purify so it is safe to drink.
The flashlight should be carried by someone who is not carrying the headlamp, as you can have it as a backup source of light. Light can mean being able to walk safely in the dark, and avoid falling into a ditch and breaking an ankle, or getting hit by a car.
Hurrying to get home could mean there will be a lot of walking at night involved, so having your hands free to eat, drink, climb… is vital, and a headlamp will provide you with that freedom.
4. Energy Bars
Since you are only trying to get home, the need for along term food isn’t important. You should plan to have 3 energy bars per day, per person. You need to think about where you are going, and plan how long it will take you to get home, then make your decision as to how many energy bars you carry.
This is far from a well rounded diet, but will provide the energy you need to keep going. If you are traveling for more than 3 days, you will need to find a better source of food en route, as it would not be feasible to carry enough food for weeks in a holiday get home bag.
5. Map and Compass
Possible the 2 most important items your get home bag can have. You should have an OS map and road map that covers the area you are travelling too, and a compass in order to navigate using the map, or incase you get lost in the wild.
On you map, plot a route for the path you can take in the car, and a path you can take if you have to make the journey by foot. Remember, motorways may not be the best option when walking in a SHTF scenario.
Paracord, a preppers best friend. You always want to have paracord close by. Ideally, 100 feet is enough, it can be used for everything, from building a shelter, to sewing up a damaged bag.
Ideally, you should aim to carry your multi-tool on your person at all times, I carry my Leatherman Surge on my belt and Leatherman Wave in my EDC pouch, but since we are talking about our holiday here, where you will be nicely dressed, and may not want to carry a multi-tool on your belt, having it in your get home bag is OK.
8. Personal Defence
This one is tricky, depending on what country you live in, you may, or may not be allowed to carry a weapon. You need to research gun laws and knife carrying laws in your area, and the area you are travelling to before you set off.
Some form of protection is vital for survival, as you are likely to encounter rioters, looters, and possibly even robbers who will take everything you have. If you live somewhere you cannot carry a gun, you can always look into an EDC Knife, or even a tactical flashlight which can act as a hammer for hitting an attacker.
9. Survival Knife
Your survival knife is essential, it defiantly needs to come along on holiday with you, and will be an indispensable item in an emergency situation. Make sure you knife is sharpened and stropped before leaving home! If you don’t have a good survival knife, you should check out this review of the KA-Bar Dogs Head knife.
You only really need to carry one survival knife, but, being a prepper, I would suggest carrying two if you have more than one person carrying a get home bag.
10. First Aid Kit
You should have all the basics in your first aid kit that aligns with where you are going. If you are heading somewhere warm and sunny, make sure to pack suncream and bug repellant. You will want to make sure your first aid kit contains other essentials like antibacterial wipes, plasters and bandages.
11. Fire Starter
Another favourite of the prepper is the fire starter, or fire steel as it is sometimes called. A simple fire steel and striker will take up very little space in your holiday get home bag, and can be stored without the fear of it exploding or lighting in your bag. You should consider carrying two of these, one in another bag if possible.
12. Rain Poncho
You must include a rain poncho in your holiday get home bag! This will keep you dry, and a little warmer in the case of rain, and can even give you some shelter for sleeping at night. Each person in your group should have their own.
Another items that will come in very handy in your get home bag is a tarp. This can be used along with your paracord to build a shelter for sleeping at night, and to keep you, and your family dry in the event of torrential rain, when the poncho just doesn’t cut it.
One tarp should be enough, though, if you have a very big family, you may need more than one.
14. Bivy Bag
A bivy bag will offer warmth and protection from the elements when you are trying to catch some sleep. Keeping warm and dry in an emergency situation is vital for your survival, and so each member of your group should have their own emergency bivy bag.
15. FFP3 Respirator Mask
You never know when you will need a respirator, there may be a flu outbreak, or a natural disaster causing the air you are breathing to become contaminated. Having a way to get access to clean, breathable air is vital. Have an FFP3 respirator mask for each family member. They don’t take up much room, and are worth having.
16. Hand Sanitiser
Lastly, hand sanitiser. This has multiple uses, from getting a fire started, to cleaning your hands. Hygiene is an important aspect of survival and should not be overlooked. Each holiday get home bag should contain a small bottle of hand sanitiser.
Everything in this list can fit into a normal backpack, which is what you want when building a holiday get home pack. By blending in, you will not attract attention from anyone who sees you carrying your get home bag. Leave the camo, and tactical style backpacks at home, and instead, go for a normal backpack, that is both comfortable, and offers good storage capacity. A backpack of around 25-30 litres is suffice.